Nano-diamond self-charging batteries could disrupt energy as we know it

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NDB makes remarkable claims about its self-charging nano-diamond battery, here seen mocked up as a circuit board component

California company NDB says its nano-diamond batteries will absolutely upend the energy equation, acting like tiny nuclear generators. They will blow any energy density comparison out of the water, lasting anywhere from a decade to 28,000 years without ever needing a charge. They will offer higher power density than lithium-ion. They will be nigh-on indestructible and totally safe in an electric car crash. And in some applications, like electric cars, they stand to be considerably cheaper than current lithium-ion packs despite their huge advantages.

The heart of each cell is a small piece of recycled nuclear waste. NDB uses graphite nuclear reactor parts that have absorbed radiation from nuclear fuel rods and have themselves become radioactive. Untreated, it’s high-grade nuclear waste: dangerous, difficult and expensive to store, with a very long half-life.

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Scientists turn nuclear waste into diamond batteries

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They’ll reportedly last for thousands of years. This technology may someday power spacecraft, satellites, high-flying drones, and pacemakers.

Nuclear energy is carbon free, which makes it an attractive and practical alternative to fossil fuels, as it doesn’t contribute to global warming. We also have the infrastructure for it already in place. It’s nuclear waste that makes fission bad for the environment. And it lasts for so long, some isotopes for thousands of years. Nuclear fuel is comprised of ceramic pellets of uranium-235 placed within metal rods. After fission takes place, two radioactive isotopes are left over: cesium-137 and strontium-90.

These each have half-lives of 30 years, meaning the radiation will be half gone by that time. Transuranic wastes, such as Plutonium-239, are also created in the process. This has a half-life of 24,000 years. These materials are highly radioactive, making them extremely dangerous to handle, even with short-term exposure.

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Nuclear Waste for Sale

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You know you have a problem when you have to start selling off your nuclear assets to pay the cleanup costs for your nuclear assets, all while acquiring new nuclear assets.

It may seem odd, but that’s just what the British government is doing. Thursday night, assets from Britain’s nuclear power stations were made available to the private sector in an effort to raise £72 billion ($144 billion) for nuclear waste cleanup costs.

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